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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Adolescence is an important age of development when collective norms emerge, social exclusion often takes place, and competition for reputation is relatively intense. Negative gossip is used with increasing intentionality to interfere in these processes. At the same time, being the object of negative gossip undermines chances to obtain good reputation. This chapter reviews the role of gossiping in the formation of informal status relations of adolescents. It provides an overview of theoretical explanations and empirical findings on how reputation and gossip are related with a special focus on the school context. It presents recent methodological advancements of social network methods used for analyzing the complex interrelated dynamics of gossip, reputation, and peer relations among adolescents. As an illustration, the chapter shows that malicious gossip leads to disdain while disdain induces malicious gossip in a longitudinal analysis of Hungarian secondary school classes. Finally, it discusses the theoretical and practical implications of our illustrative analysis and formulate suggestions for future research.

Keywords: adolescence, status competition, gossip, reputation, social network, stochastic actor-based models

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